Bird

Bird

Bird

  • Identify birds in color
  • Great photos
  • A bird watchers must have

Unrivaled in scope for a single-volume reference work, this visual guide to every bird order and family profiles more than 1,500 species, photographed in their native environment by photographers around the globe. Authoritative, comprehensive, and completely up to date, this is a must-have reference for anyone with even a passing interest in the world’s birds. AUTHOR BIO: David Burnie studied zoology at the University of Bristol and, after graduating, worked as a nature reserve ranger and biol

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  1. Juscz "John M. Uscian" says:
    53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Superb Overview of Bird Biology and Species Occurring Worldwide, October 30, 2007
    By 
    Juscz “John M. Uscian” (Puerto Rico) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Bird (Hardcover)

    Produced in collaboration with Audubon, “Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide” (2007 by DK Publishing) deserves the highest praise for its superb presentation of birds worldwide. Containing a wide variety of representative species, excellent photographs, and a CD featuring some 60 bird songs from around the globe, this is perhaps the best general survey book available on the Class Aves.

    The book consists of three chapters and the bird song CD. Whereas chapters two (nonpasserines) and three (passerines) provide basic and interesting information on the biology and geographic occurrence of selected birds representing specific bird orders and/or families, the first chapter touches on more general topics such as form, function, behavior, conservation, extinction, habitats, and ecology.

    The Foreword consists of a brief, one page philosophical reflection on the significance of birds in our lives and is followed by 14 full-page images of such species as the African jacana, the European bee-eater, and the great grey owl. As is the case throughout the book, all of these images are in full color and of very high quality.

    The Introduction begins with an examination of bird anatomy and physiology. Those individuals less familiar with these topics will find the explanations to be very clear and accessible. At the same time, the specialist will likely appreciate being reminded of how these topics can be distilled to a rather simplified yet informative presentation. For example, in its brief description of respiration, the text states,

    “When a mammal breathes, air flows into its lungs and back out again. Bird lungs work differently: air flows straight through the lungs, via a system of air sacs, before being exhaled. This one-way flow allows air and blood to move in opposite directions, known as countercurrent.”

    The accompanying diagrams very effectively explain how a bird’s lungs function in this manner. The reader will continue to encounter similar, high quality explanations throughout the text.

    A representative bird skeleton enables us to understand how this structure keeps a bird’s weight to a minimum while simultaneously standing up to the rigors imposed by powerful flight muscles. In addition, the explanation of flight forces, speeds, and patterns (pages 32 and 33) is also informative yet concise.

    The introduction goes on to clearly describe general avian characteristics such as feather structure, wing structure, gliding and soaring, legs and feet, bills, mechanisms of feeding, communication, defense, breeding, nests and eggs, parental care, living together, migration, threats, conservation, and extinction. Again, one has to admire the manner in which these topics are effectively explained (excellent text and diagrams/photographs) such that the amateur bird enthusiast, perhaps lacking much in the way of formal biological training, can rapidly be brought “up to speed” on the essentials. But, again, professional biologists should also find the explanations very useful as well.

    Chapter 1 continues with an examination of bird habitats (28 pages in all being used to cover this topic). A sound explanation of the 8 different recognized biogeographical realms is a notable feature. The significance of continental drift is also considered with respect to the worldwide distribution of ratites (i.e., birds such as ostriches, emus, and rheas). Curious asides such as this abound and add to our fascination for the Class Aves.

    Chapter 2 begins with a general overview of nonpasserine bird species and the criteria used for their classification. We then launch into the various orders and families comprising this very broad Avian group. For example, early in this chapter the two species of kiwis are shown side by side. Their geographic ranges are each indicated with a useful accompanying map (these are used throughout the book for each species presented). Important information, such as size, weight, migratory status, nesting, behavior, and species status (e.g., threatened or endangered), are presented as well. Did you know that kiwis are monogamous and, despite their harmless appearance, are perfectly capable of inflicting serious wounds to rivals? Very interesting, indeed.

    The parrots (a personal favorite group of mine) consist of some 350 or so species and there is no practical way by which a book of this sort can begin to cover every species. Thus, as in all such cases throughout the work, the authors/editors opt to present some of the most representative species (such as African greys [curiously spelled “grays,” rather than the traditional British “grey” spelling], blue and gold macaws, budgerigars, and monk parakeets) while also emphasizing some more unusual species with which the average person might be unfamiliar. In this latter category, the New Zealand Kakapo, a ground dweller and the heaviest…

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  2. Deborah McGrane says:
    12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Breathtaking, December 26, 2007
    By 
    Deborah McGrane (Southeastern U.S.) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Bird (Hardcover)

    I received this book for Christmas, and it is without a doubt, my favorite present. The scope of information presented is absolutely amazing. Birds from the entire world are summarized, along with details on migration habits, habitats, and mating. Information about each bird featured is rather brief, but this is really a visual guide (hence the title), so if you are looking for very detailed information on certain birds, your best bet would be to find a book specializing in that family of bird. The pictures are the real draw here; they are brilliant, vivid, and inspiring. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in birds, nature, and fantastic photography.

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